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National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Stormwater Rules and Notices

Congress gives EPA authority to develop and implement federal stormwater regulations. Any new or modified regulations must go through a rulemaking process. The process includes a proposal, public comment, and a final rule that must then be implemented and enforced.

EPA also publishes a variety of notices associated with the stormwater program, including draft and final stormwater permits, technical corrections to stormwater permits, and notices on stormwater regulations. Here is more information on the laws, regulations, proposed and final rules, and other public notices applicable to the NPDES stormwater program.

Stormwater Proposed and Final Rules

Final Rules

Final Rules

  • Amendments to the NPDES Regulations for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Oil and Gas Exploration, Production, Processing, or Treatment Operations or Transmission Facilities (June 12, 2006) – Consistent with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, this final rule exempts construction activities at oil and gas sites from the requirement to obtain an NPDES permit for stormwater discharges except in very limited instances. EPA issued a public notice for the proposed rule which opened on January 6, 2006 and closed on February 21, 2006. The rule became effective June 12, 2006.
  • Note: This rule was vacated effective November 2008. The effective requirements are the regulations in place prior to the 2006 rule plus the additional Energy Policy Act clarification of the activities included in the CWA 402(l)(2) exemption.
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System - Regulations for Revision of the Water Pollution Control Program Addressing Stormwater Discharges; Final Rule (December 08, 1999) – Phase II regulations expanded the existing NPDES stormwater program (Phase I) by addressing stormwater discharges from small MS4s and construction sites that disturb one-five acres. Although those sources are automatically designated by the rule, the rule allows for the exclusion of certain sources from the national program based on a demonstration of the lack of impact on water quality, and the inclusion of others based on a higher likelihood of localized adverse impact on water quality. The regulations also exclude from the NPDES program stormwater discharges from industrial facilities that have "no exposure" of industrial activities or materials to stormwater.
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Application Regulations for Stormwater Discharges; Final Rule (November 16, 1990) – Phase I established regulations setting forth NPDES permit application requirements for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity; discharges from a municipal separate storm sewer system serving a population of 250,000 or more; and discharges from municipal separate storm sewer systems serving a population of 100,000 or more, but less than 250,000.

Stormwater Construction Notices

Stormwater Industrial Notices

Multi-Sector General Permits for Stormwater Discharges from Industrial Activities

Stormwater Municipal Notices